A Twitter hashtag is an intuitive and easy way to reach your target audience, whatever the message you are trying to convey. A hashtag is also an essential tool to attract traffic to your website or blog. However before I consider the reasons for this it would be helpful to define just what it is we mean by a hashtag, and how it helps to get your message across.
What is a hashtag?
This is the hash sign that is used in other walks of life:
Put at its simplest a hashtag is a hash sign followed immediately by a single word, or a series of words used together without a break, the purpose of which is to allow the information that it accompanies to be categorised with other information on a similar theme.
So #SEO, #wickedspider, #twittertips #WebTraffic are all examples of hashtags. Most people when they first start to use hashtags find it hard to not add a space in between words – it took me a while.
When you use a Twitter hashtag it means your tweet on a particular subject may be seen not only by your own limited number of followers, but also by any other users of the same hashtag or by anyone who searches on Twitter for it. So if I go on to Twitter and search for #SEO I will see all the tweets that have that hashtag in it. If you sell kitchens you might use the #newkitchens hashtag in your tweet and then when someone searches on Twitter for #newkitchens your tweet has more chance of being seen.
How does a Twitter hashtag work?
By including a hashtag in your tweet you direct your message to an audience within a specified niche rather than just to your followers in general, who in all likelihood will have a whole range of interests as opposed to specifically the one on which you are talking about.
For example you may have 500 Twitter followers. Usually they will be a combination of people you know from various walks of life – family, workmates, old friends from school, plus people who follow your particular interests. One of those interests might be your local football team. But your family, old schoolmates and workmates may not share that particular enthusiasm, and so a tweet sent out celebrating a great goal by the centre forward John Smith will be wasted on the majority of those who follow you.
But a tweet accompanied by the hashtag #johnsmithdfc can be accessed and viewed by anybody who is familiar with it, whether they are followers of yours or not. It means the audience you reach via the hashtag are more likely to have an interest in your opinions than your broad range of followers will probably have.
Using hashtags for business
When you include a Twitter hashtag in a business-related tweet you are effectively flagging up the subject matter of your post to your potential audience outside of your own group of followers. An obscure hashtag which is unlikely ever to be searched for will not serve you well, even if it does happen to be unique. Remember, it is unique for a reason! Having said that you can create your own hashtags like #wickedspidergirl or #wickedseo for instance. As my influence grows on Twitter my hashtags will get more exposure.
Tags such as #marketing, #networking, #b2b (a widely-used abbreviation for business to business) will be found by others with a specific interest in those fields of work. Using these or tags like it will convey your message directly to a target audience and will draw more traffic to your feed.
You will get more traffic to your website using hashtags in your tweets too.
So, using hashtags will get you more of a following on Twitter and more people clicking through to your website.
Have fun hashtagging!
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